Did you start work at a young age?
Yes. I worked for a butcher in Forest Hills, New York, when I was about 14. We then moved to California and humped mats for one of my uncles, who owned a mat factory.
How did you make money as a musician before War Of The Worlds?
I wrote advertising jingles and film scores. I did about three-thousand compositions.
Which of your jingles are you proudest of?
I was working with directors such as Ridley and Tony Scott, Alan Parker and Richard Lester. The Gordon’s Gin one was good. The engineer was the late Martin Rushent, who went on to work with The Human League. On their second album Travelogue they did an eleongated version of it called Gordon’s Tune.
How did you fund War Of The Worlds?
I had to borrow money from one of my best friends. By the time it was over, I’d put in all my life savings, about two-thirds of the cost: about £240,000.
Its grandiosity was the antithesis of the then-current punk scene.
Funnily enough, the late Malcolm McLaren asked me to produce Bow Wow Wow’s debut and his budgets were £30,000, like David Essex’s. Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk cost a million dollars so WOTW’s tag of ‘most expensive album’ wasn’t deserved.
Can a figure be put on how much money War Of The Worlds made?
Probably, but for me it’s more about the fact that it’s reached a lot of people. It’s approaching sixteen million sales. It’s had quite a remarkable life.